Posted: Nov 24, 2021 11:35 am
Last updated: November 24, 2021, 11:35 a.m.
The Tully Bookmakers time in Ireland is up. Corresponding Racing mail, the sports betting company has sold the last 10 sports betting shops in the country to BoyleSports. This ends a 44-year run in business.
Tully Bookmakers was one of the original sports betting names in Ireland, but all good things have to end. The company started selling some of its stores in 2015 when the market began to change. From an initial 37, it reduced its footprint by 10 this year through a deal with BoyleSports.
Tully’s end of an era
Over the next several years, Tully continued to be disaffected with the state of sports betting in Ireland for a number of reasons. When the country introduced a new betting tax in 2018, the company took a blow. Then when COVID-19 surfaced, things went from bad to worse.
From around mid-March to almost the end of June last year, sports betting was severely hampered in Ireland. All land-based sports bets have been closed except for a brief reopening when it looked like the pandemic was under control. This outage took another bite of Tully and further dampened sentiment for the company.
Tully has further scaled back its activities over the years and decided that now is the right time to get out. It has given its last 10 stores to BoyleSports as profits continued to decline.
It comes with mixed feelings, but the final chapter is written. I thought it was time to get out. Neither I nor my brother have families interested in running the business, so we decided to take the plunge, ”noted Paul Tully, owner of Tully Bookmakers.
BoyleSports is growing its footprint
BoyleSports was a major independent sports betting company in Ireland prior to its most recent acquisition. However, with 286 stores across the country, it is the undisputed champion. Racing Post spoke to an unknown person who said the operator “will invest heavily in each of the ten stores to allow them to compete in the current market”.
While the purchase wasn’t a big surprise, for some, it’s still a bitter pill to swallow. Irish Bookmakers Association Chair Sharon Byrne said, “This is a sign of how difficult it is for the smaller vendors out there trying to survive. I wish BoyleSports all the best with their new shops. “
It is very difficult for the smaller operators and consumer confidence has simply not returned since then [COVID-19]. Placing bets and then leaving is the new normal. People aren’t ready to hang around the stores, ”Byrne said.
Ireland is going through some serious transformation with its gambling industry and after 44 years the time seemed perfect to get out of business. With the uncertainty ahead and limited presence, an exit was now almost inevitable.
Tully stated that he started the business when he was only 12 and, if everything is ready before Christmas, it will be the first time in 40 years that he can take a vacation. “That,” he says, “tells its own story.”